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SBA opens 2 Business Recovery Centers in Caguas, Yabucoa

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced it will open two Business Recovery Centers (BRCs), one in Caguas and another in Yabucoa, a noon today.

The BRCs are established to provide one-on-one assistance in submitting a disaster loan application for businesses impacted by Hurricane Fiona that began Sept. 17.

The towns of Añasco, Hormigueros and Mayagüez are now included as primary municipalities, with businesses and residents eligible to apply for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) from the SBA.

Aguada, Cabo Rojo, Moca and Rincón have been added as adjacent municipalities, making small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in these adjacent municipalities eligible to apply only for EIDLs. 

As FEMA adds municipalities to the disaster declaration for Hurricane Fiona, SBA will also add the same municipalities to the SBA disaster declaration, it stated.

Currently, the disaster declaration covers the following municipalities: Adjuntas, Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Añasco, Arroyo, Barranquitas, Bayamòn, Caguas, Canòvanas, Carolina, Cataño, Cayey, Ceiba, Ciales, Cidra, Coamo, Comerío, Corozal, Dorado, Fajardo, Florida, Guayama, Guayanilla, Guaynabo, Gurabo, Hormigueros, Humacao, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Juncos, Lares, Las Piedras, Luquillo, Maricao, Maunabo, Mayagüez, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Patillas, Peñuelas, Ponce, Río Grande, Salinas, San Juan, San Lorenzo, Santa Isabel, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Trujillo Alto, Utuado, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Vieques, Villalba, Yabucoa, and Yauco in Puerto Rico, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.

Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent municipalities are eligible to apply only for EIDLs: Aguada, Arecibo, Barceloneta, Cabo Rojo, Camuy, Guánica, Hatillo, Las Marías, Loíza, Manatí, Moca, Rincón, Sabana Grande, San Germán, and San Sebastian in Puerto Rico.

The SBA’s Business Recovery Center at the Municipal Government Center in Caguas will run Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Meanwhile, the center in Yabucoa, at the Municipal Library, will operate Monday to Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.             

SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about the disaster loan program and assist business owners in completing their applications, the agency stated.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all visitors to the BRCs are encouraged to wear a face mask. 

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers EIDLs to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase of up to 20% of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA, for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, elevation, retaining walls, and landscaping to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Applicants that have an existing SBA disaster loan may apply under this declaration. Businesses and residents with previous SBA disaster loans and current applicants have up to two years from the date of their prior loan approval in which to request a loan increase for mitigation projects.

Interest rates range from 3.04% for businesses, 1.875% for nonprofit organizations, and 2.188 % for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 21, 2022. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 21, 2023.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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